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Pic of week: Flower show's potted history of conflict

An exhibitor studies Auricula plants on display in the Great Pavilion at the 2014 Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

The prestigious gardening show – celebrating its 152nd anniversary – is arguably the most famous of its kind and attracts visitors from across the world.

This year, some exhibitors chose to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War in the design of their gardens.

One represented a landscape from northern France, complete with trenches and a mine crater filled with water.

No Man's Land, designed by Charlotte Rowe, was inspired by images of the Great War.

Rowe focused on the landscape of the Western Front and put together a modern representation of the area, showing how the natural environment has regenerated.

"My grandfather, whom I was very close to, went over the top, aged 19, on the first day of the Battle of the Somme," Rowe said.

"The idea behind it is that the land, No Man's Land, was fought over again and again, with the frontline moving very little and the land got completely messed up and churned up.

"The concept is the healing of the land after severe conflict and relating it to the human body and spirit."

Plants in the garden were grown by injured soldiers during a programme of horticultural therapy.

The first Royal Horticultural Society Great Spring Show was held in 1862 at the RHS garden in Kensington.

Kensington was chosen as the site, because earlier flower shows, held at Chiswick, were experiencing falling visitor numbers due to poor transport links.

The show was held at Kensington for 26 years, but then, in 1888, the Royal Horticultural Society decided to move the show to the heart of London.

The site chosen was Temple Gardens, situated between the Embankment and Fleet Street. The show moved to the Royal Hospital Chelsea in 1905.

It has been held annually ever since, except for the years 1939-45, when the hospital grounds were requisitioned by the War Office for an anti-aircraft battery.

Belfast Telegraph


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